A Paradigm Shift in Infectious Diseases
2022–23 Faculty Grant
Critical role of paradigm shifts in science illustrated through respiratory infectious disease transmission
Professor Lydia Bourouiba, faculty in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, collaborates with Argha Manna, a cancer researcher turned comics artist from Kolkata, India. They continue their previous work translating the complex science of fluid dynamics of disease transmission into comics. Their joint project, Be Aware of Droplets and Bubbles, was published in Annals of Internal Medicine and featured in JAMA Networks’ “Graphic Medicine—The Best of 2020.”
As an extension of their ongoing collaboration, A Paradigm Shift in Infectious Diseases aims to clarify confusion about the mechanisms of transmission of airborne pathogens, and more broadly, the importance of crossing boundaries between fundamental physical processes, biology, and physiology, and how the scientific method coupled with advancement of scientific instrumentation has shaped paradigm shifts in science. They leverage visual storytelling using comics to communicate these entangled concepts vital to the public understanding of the advancement of the frontier of human knowledge.
A Paradigm Shift in Infectious Diseases
December 4–15, 2023
Rotch Library Gallery, MIT Building 7
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
“Exhibition on the Scientific Method and Science Advances via Comics and Illustrations”
Tuesday, December 5, 2023 / 5:00pm
The Nexus (Building 14S-130), Hayden Memorial Library
160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA
Lydia Bourouiba, Associate Professor of Mechanical, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, MIT
Argha Manna, Comics Artist, Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Gandhinagar
Joel Christian Gill, Associate Professor of Art and Chair of Department of Visual Narrative, Boston University
John Durant, Director of MIT Museum and Adjunct Professor in Science, Technology, & Society Program, MIT
Edward Anthony Nardell, MD, Professor of Environmental Health and Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard University
Robin Scheffler, Associate Professor in Science, Technology, & Society Program, MIT
Carl Zimmer, Author, Journalist, and Professor Adjunct of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University
Class: Fluids and Diseases 1.063-1.631/HST.537/2.250
Offered Spring 2023
Special topic and course projects on the scientific method, history of epidemics, and paradigm shifts in the context of public health, and through the power of various illustration tools, such as comics.
Lydia Bourouiba, Associate Professor of Mechanical, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, founded and directs The Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory at MIT. Her research interests and activities span a broad range of applied mathematics/mathematical physics approaches at the intersection of physics, mathematics, and biology. She leverages curiosity-driven research in fluid dynamics at various scales, biophysics, and mathematical modeling to understand the fundamental physical mechanisms shaping and constraining disease transmission dynamics in human, animal, and plant populations. Recently, her work elucidated the multi-scale dynamics of fluid fragmentation, droplet and bubble dynamics, and complex and multiphase flows with particular focus on the physics and biology that drive mixing, transport, persistence, and adaption of pathogens relevant to contamination and disease outbreaks.
Argha Manna is a cancer researcher turned comics artist from India. He explores the historical perspectives of scientific development and social issues through the dual lenses of artist and researcher, bridging the gap between academic research and visual storytelling. Working alongside MIT Professor Lydia Bourouiba, Manna is working on translating the complex fluid dynamics of disease transmission and its historical context into comics.The collaboration, which included teaching tools to inform the public about infectious disease transmission, was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.